Ensign Nora A. Hill
Aboard USS GREEN BAY
—Private First Class Ryan Jerabek joined the Marines at the age of 18 and was killed in action in Iraq the following year.
As part of USS Green Bay’s ties to the state of Wisconsin, he is one of several fallen heroes from the state honored in the ship’s main passageway, nicknamed the “Hall of Heroes.”
A plaque is not his only commemoration. In his hometown of Hobart, WI, there is a yearly run hosted in his honor. Sailors from the USS Green Bay have done a yearly companion run to the Jerabek Challenge in tribute to PFC Jerabek and others who have given their lives in service.
Originally scheduled for in-port San Diego, due to operational commitments, it was next planned for in-port Seattle, WA. When the in-port time changed, the crew did not want to miss the event, and an underway run was conducted running laps on the flight deck. Green Bay Sailors and embarked Marines ran 36 laps around the flight deck to match the 4 mile distance of runners in Wisconsin on the morning of August 14.
For one Green Bay Sailor, this was a particularly significant event. Hospital Corpsman Second Class Rudy Contreras was part of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines (“The Magnificent Bastards”), PFC Jerabek’s battalion, at the time of Ryan’s death. He described the run as “truly amazing” and stated, “For someone that was actually there and endured a lot of the same hardships, it means a lot when people show recognition for your sacrifice, and prove that you are truly not forgotten.”
USS Green Bay is the fourth San Antonio class amphibious transport dock and is homeported in San Diego, CA.